Thanksgiving Day in Canada is a festival to celebrate the harvest and blessings of the year. Every year on the second Monday in October, Canadians gather to enjoy feasts with their family and friends, giving thanks for all the good in their lives. in this blog post, let’s learn everything about this famous Canadian festival involving its significance, traditions and much more.

When is Canadian Thanksgiving?

When is Canadian Thanksgiving

As the days grow shorter and the weather colder, Canadians come together to celebrate the harvest season in October. On the second Monday of the month, people of Canada come together to commemorate Thanksgiving Day- an official statutory holiday in all provinces and territories except for Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

This year (2023), Canadians will be celebrating Thanksgiving on Monday, October 9th. On this special occasion, Canadians take the time to express gratitude for the blessings that they have been given throughout the year. They spend the day with family and friends, indulging in a delicious feast and sharing stories of their summer adventures.

For your information, Thanksgiving Canada is a Designated Retail Closing Day in Nova Scotia, meaning that some retail businesses are prohibited from opening, but it isn’t a paid holiday. Thanksgiving Date is a wonderful opportunity for Canadians to come together, reflect on the past few months, and show gratitude for the things that bring joy and bliss to them.

Why is Thanksgiving Canada Celebrated?

Why is Thanksgiving Canada Celebrated

Thanksgiving Canada has its roots in the native values of the country, which involve giving thanks for the successful completion of winter and for the crops and game received as a reward for their hard work. Early celebrations consist of feasting, prayer, dance and other ceremonies. Its inception was, however, influenced by the Americans.

In 1620, a group of religious separatists left England and established a colony in what is now known as Massachusetts. The Wampanoag people, who lived in the area, taught the ‘pilgrims’ how to catch fish, cultivate corn, and prevent poisonous plants. Well, thanks to the Wampanoag, the pilgrims survived their first winter and held a successful harvest the next fall.

The Wampanoag and pilgrims celebrated with a feast, which is now known as the first ‘Thanksgiving Feast’. This day wasn’t made into a national holiday until 1957. Since then, it has served as a day to give thanks for the good fortunes in the past year.

Traditions of Canadian Thanksgiving

Traditions of Canadian Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Canada has been an integral part of Canadian life since the mid-19th century. The occasion was celebrated on different dates for more than a century until 1957, when the Canadian Parliament declared a day of general Thanksgiving to be observed on the second Monday of October. This specific holiday is unique to the United States and Canada, as no other English-speaking countries have a holiday with the same name.

On Canadian Thanksgiving Day, people gather with their families and prepare a festive meal, usually featuring turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Depending on the region, other dishes might also be served; such as, Newfoundlanders might serve Jiggs’ dinner and split-pea pudding, while Ontarians may opt for butter tarts instead of pumpkin pie. in provinces which recognize Thanksgiving as a holiday, most government offices and local amenities will be closed but the public transport will run on a holiday. Banks and the Toronto Stock Exchange will also be closed.

In New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Thanksgiving Day is not a holiday, so employers are not legally obligated to grant their employees the day off with pay. To mark the occasion, families in these provinces often celebrate the holiday on the Sunday before.

Is Thanksgiving Day 2023 a Statutory Holiday in Canada?

Yes,  the majority of provinces recognize Thanksgiving as a statutory holiday in Canada. This means that Thanksgiving Canada is a mandatory day off for employees. The majority of the provinces includes Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan.

However, the four Maritime provinces – New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, do not recognize Thanksgiving Day 2023 as a statutory holiday. Employers in these provinces may choose to give their employees the day off, but they are not legally obligated to do so.

Differences Between Canadian and American Thanksgiving

The five points of difference between Canadian and American Thanksgiving are as follows:

    • Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October, while American Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.
    • Canadian Thanksgiving is a statutory holiday in all provinces and territories, while American Thanksgiving is not a federal holiday and is only observed in some states.
    • Canadian Thanksgiving is a celebration of the harvest season and of giving thanks for a successful crop, while American Thanksgiving is a more general celebration of thanksgiving and is not necessarily related to harvest season. 
    • Canadian Thanksgiving is generally celebrated with family and friends, while American Thanksgiving is usually celebrated with family and friends in addition to parades and football games.
    • Canadian Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated with a feast of stuffing, roast turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables and dessert, while American Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated with a feast of roast turkey, vegetables, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. 


In conclusion, Thanksgiving in Canada is a time to be thankful for all of the blessings we have been given throughout the year. It’s a time to gather with family and friends, enjoy delicious food, and give thanks for what we have. With the continued practice of giving thanks, the spirit of Thanksgiving will remain alive in Canada for many years to come. So, we wish you to celebrate a wonderful Thanksgiving Day this year!

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Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

Why is Thanksgiving Canada celebrated?

Thanksgiving in Canada is celebrated on the second Monday in October and is a time to give thanks for the year's harvest, blessings, and good fortune. It is a national holiday in Canada and is celebrated in much the same way as in the U.S.

What is the meaning of Thanksgiving Day?

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated in Canada. The occasion is celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the blessings of the past year. Traditionally, families and friends gather together to share a meal and express gratitude for all that they have.

How is Canadian Thanksgiving Day different from that of the United States?

Canadian Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October, which is earlier than the United States' Thanksgiving Day, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. This is because the first Thanksgiving in Canada was celebrated in October, while the first Thanksgiving in the United States was celebrated in November. The weather also plays a role, as the harvest usually comes earlier in Canada than it does in the United States.

What do Canadians eat on Thanksgiving Day?

Canadians typically eat a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, which includes roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, and gravy. Other dishes may include cranberry sauce, biscuits, and sweet potato casserole. Pumpkin and apple pie are also famous desserts.